Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News
The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.
Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.
Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.
Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS
At the end of October 2012, the collared population consisted of 42 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 14 packs and one single wolf. Some other uncollared wolves are known to be associating with radio-collared wolves, and others are separate from known packs.
Seasonal note: In October, the IFT continued fall trapping efforts to document pack status and pup recruitment in several packs in the BRWRA. The IFT captured and collared a female pup from the Fox Mountain pack, fp1281. The IFT also trapped and collared an adult wolf, M1287, from the Elk Horn Pack. The IFT captured and collared a male pup, mp1282 from the San Mateo Pack, as well as three male pups from the Luna Pack, mp1284, mp1285 and mp1286.
Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1240, mp1275, mp1277 and fp1280)
Throughout October, the IFT located these wolves in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. At least five pups, two juveniles and one adult, for a total of eight wolves, were observed in the pack this month.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AF1208 and m1244)
In October, AF1208 continued to use Hawks Nests traditional territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF. m1244 has been showing signs of dispersing from the pack, and has been located separate from AF1208 several times throughout the month. The IFT continued to document AM1038 with AF1208 through visual observations. AM1038 has a nonfunctioning radio collar.
Paradise Pack (collared AM795, AF1056, m1243 and m1245)
In October, these wolves were documented using their territory on the northern portion of the ASNF and the FAIR.
Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and AF858)
Throughout October, the IFT located the Rim Pack utilizing the south-central portion of the ASNF.
ON THE FAIR:
Maverick Pack (collared AM1183)
During October, the IFT located this wolf on the FAIR.
Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253 and m1254)
During October, the IFT located these wolves on the FAIR.
IN NEW MEXICO:
Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1248 and F1246)
In October, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT has not been able to locate AM1248 since October 15. The IFT will continue to try and confirm if AM1248 is still with AF1246.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, f1251 and fp1278)
Throughout October the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.
Elk Horn Pack (collared M1287 and F1212)
On October 22, members of the IFT trapped and collared an adult male wolf from the Elk Horn Pack, AM1287. During October, the IFT located these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF.
Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1188, m1276, mp1274 and fp1281)
Throughout October, the IFT documented these wolves in the northwest portion of the GNF. On October 4, IFT personnel trapped and collared a female wolf pup from the Fox Mountain Pack, fp1281. On October 10, AF118 was captured and removed from the wild due to four confirmed depredation incidents.
Luna Pack (collared AF1115, AM1155, mp1284, mp1285 and mp1286)
In October, the IFT captured three male wolf pups from the Luna Pack, mp1284, mp1285 and mp1286. During the month, the IFT located the pack within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.
Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871 and AF861)
Throughout October, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF, including the Gila Wilderness.
San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903, m1249 and mp1282)
On October 8, the IFT captured and collared a male pup from the San Mateo Pack, mp1282. Throughout October, these wolves continued to use their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.
Willow Springs Pack (collared M1185 and F1279)
Throughout October, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF.
The IFT located this wolf in October traveling through the central portion of the GNF, including areas just outside of the GNF.
No wolf mortalities were documented during the month of October.
During October, IFT personnel investigated three livestock depredation incidents in the BRWRA.
On October 1, IFT personnel investigated a dead bull calf in Thompson Park, Arizona. They determined the cause of death to be coyotes.
On October 1, IFT personnel investigated a dead cow near Jenkins Creek in New Mexico. The cause of death was unknown.
On October 23, IFT personnel investigated a dead yearling heifer near Carnero Creek in Arizona. They confirmed the yearling was a wolf kill and assigned the depredation to an uncollared wolf.
No significant activity occurred this month.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
No significant activity occurred this month.
Brent Wolf finished his USFWS internship and has left the Project. Thank you for all of your hard work, Brent!
The IFT has three new interns on the Project – Chrissy Guimaras, Ben Betterly and Lily Glidden.
The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.
Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
Photo courtesy of Jim Clark, USFWS